Winter 2003, p.19

Cycling News
Death Imminent on Manhattan Bridge

The DOT has done nothing to protect cyclists entering and exiting the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge.

Conditions remain perilous for the 1,000 people who cycle and walk across the Manhattan Bridge every day. On the Brooklyn side of the bridge, there are no signs, markings or signals to alert motorists driving on Jay Street or exiting the Manhattan Bridge to the presence of cyclists and pedestrians. This is a disaster that the DOT must fix immediately.

Over the last decade, T.A. has asked the DOT in over a dozen letters and meetings to make Jay Street safe for cyclists and pedestrians to reach the Manhattan Bridge. This is the most popular path to the bridge and is the recommended route on the NYC Cycling Map.

Despite having created a safe design for Jay Street in 1996, the DOT has chosen to ignore the problem. In a February 2003 letter to a concerned bridge user, DOT Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Lori Ardito wrote, "…bicyclists exiting the shared pedestrian/bicycle path in Brooklyn are required to negotiate a staircase which lands them on the east sidewalk of Jay Street. From there they are directed to the signalized crosswalk at the intersection of Jay at Sands Streets (a mere 130 feet away)."

The DOT's letter is oblivious to the danger cyclists and pedestrians face at this intersection. It suggests that the stairs are somehow related to the dangerous traffic on Jay Street rather than the lack of calming devices. In Fall 2001, the DOT signed a nonsensical, quarter mile detour away from Jay Street. Its detour, as Ardito's letter reveals, also requires cyclists to walk their bikes for a block. Not surprisingly, cyclists do not use this detour.

The DOT should follow its own advice and install a traffic signal, signs and crosswalks-and even bollards-to slow the traffic on Jay Street and exiting the bridge.

Write to:
DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall
40 Worth Street
NYC 10013  

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